Veterans in Texas nursing homes remembered at holidays

CORSICANA, Texas — Not ones to rest on their laurels, no sooner did the Angels of Corsicana Troop Support send their hundreds of Christmas care packages to the troops both here and overseas, they got to work ginning out gifts for the veterans in our nursing homes.

Done in conjunction with the Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 1009, and the American Legion Auxiliary, the project enlisted Jean O’Connor, the spearhead of Angels of Corsicana, in the evenings crocheting house containers made of Christmas cards together. Supplies were donated and purchased, and all three groups convened at the American Legion the afternoon of Dec. 18 to fill the gift bags and gift houses with goodies for Navarro County vets.

O’Connor, who has 10 years experience running a “packing,” runs all hers with military precision, and this was no different. Bags were filled with tube socks (even special socks for the diabetics), candy, and other goodies and placed inside the Christmas card houses, at which point her husband Marvin O’Connor, with probably the largest hands in the entire place, tied bows from dainty ribbon on each one.

“Jean can make something with nothing,” said co-Angel member Alice Bancroft.

“We have 75 names of veterans in Navarro County at nursing homes we’ve been given names for,” O’Connor said.

The VVA and Angels of Corsicana worked as a team on that particular project, while in another part of the room, the Auxiliary worked putting together gift bags, which contained oranges, grapes, pudding, candy and other goodies, also to be delivered to veterans in the county residing at nursing homes. The Auxiliary has done this project for the last 10  years.

“The Auxiliary finances or makes all the contents of these bags,” said Wanda Jordan, project coordinator. “We did a gift bag with a stocking, with orange, fruit cup, applesauce, cookies, candy cane and candies in it.”

“It breaks my heart to donate these Russell Stover Pecan Delights,” said Marlene Bartosh, Auxiliary member. “But then I think about all these veterans have done for me, for our country, for my parents, even.”

Jean O’Connor and Alice Bancroft deliver gifts of some sort every other week to the veterans at Heritage Oaks West. Bancroft had covered the town searching for Christmas cards to use for their containers, and the drivers began to leave for the delivery process, which was orchestrated down to a science to cover each and every nursing home in the county, not just Corsicana proper.

“Everything that’s done in these organizations is donated,” Bartosh. “Some money comes from fundraisers, but non-profits can only hold two of those per year.”

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